A motivational speaker for a nursing conference recently quoted Robert Green Ingersoll who says "Happiness is not a reward — it is a consequence." Happiness is a by-product of our choices- how we spend our money, resources and especially time.
The problem with happiness as a reward is once the goal is accomplished, you are immediately elated and now the source of happiness is gone. On to another goal to create more happiness. If money is your goal, once you achieve this financial goal- you are statistically no happier.
One thing is clear who you spend your time with directly impacts happiness. The more meaningful and close relationships you have the happier you will be. Loneliness is directly linked to unhappiness.
The motivational speaker at the nursing conference was compelling organizations to commit to give employees more freedom at work. To give nurses the freedom to chose who they work with, the kinds of activities they do at work and their work hours. If how you spend your time and who you spend it with is so important to happiness we can drastically increase morale with choices.
Other than potentially creating a scheduling nightmare ( ie- i only work with Brenda because she's my best buddy) and potentially pandering to high maintenance employees- this idea has merit. Some would argue that work is work, it's not meant to be fun, that's why they pay you. The other side of the coin is that money as motivation only goes so far. Fun and meaningful work increases morale, boosts productivity and most importantly sparks innovation.
Read about the Keys to Happiness and Change from Keynote Speaker William Bridges